The Best Ski Resorts for Beginners

Looking for a beginner-friendly ski resort to visit this winter? Look no further! Ski Expert Justin Y. gives the lowdown on his top picks of ski resorts for beginners!

A skier stands at the top of a snowy run.

Photo by Kasya Shahovskaya

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The Winter Olympics are sure to inspire people to put on a pair of skis for the very first time or venture out for the first time since their one high school outing. While it’s unlikely you are ready for slalom races or Olympic-level ski jumps just yet, still that urge to cruise down the side of a beautiful mountain is natural and attainable. All you need is a touch of courage and a little time.

Whether you are looking for a family ski vacation or an adventure with friends, traveling to a ski resort is an excellent opportunity to break up a long winter and try something different. Maybe you’re skiing for the first time or only feel comfortable on the bunny slopes? Well, picking the right resort and mountain destination will go a long way in making your experience a great one.

There are many factors to consider in finding a great ski destination for beginners. Off the mountain, you have lodging and dining options as well as travel logistics. On the hill, you are looking for a great ski school and green runs to hone your newly acquired ski skills. Most ski towns and larger resorts will offer great lodging and restaurants so beginner skiers should focus on the on-mountain experience. Here are the best ski resorts for beginner skiers!

Best for Adult Beginners

Breckenridge Ski Resort

Trail map for Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Map courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort

"Breck"

  • Location: Colorado (1.5 hours from Denver)
  • Green Runs: 11% of the resort
  • Ski School: Half-day lessons for 3-4-year-olds, full-day lessons for 5-14, family lessons, private lessons

Breckenridge, an old mining town, offers top-notch ski lessons for your entire family. After your lesson is complete, you can spend your time using your newly acquired skills all over Breck’s 23 green slopes. While most of the beginner areas are at the bottom of the mountain, some easy and intermediate runs allow beginners to snag some great views higher up the hill.

Breckenridge offers a great on-the-mountain experience for beginners and provides an incredible metropolitan and après ski experience for those who have never visited an authentic ski town. The many dining, drinking, and shopping options in downtown Breckenridge make sure ski town rookies get their fill.

Expert Tip: Kick off the skis a little early one afternoon and grab a drink on the patio at Robbie's Tavern, where you can relax and watch skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels come down Peak 8.

Best for Kids Over Five

Park City Mountain Resort

Trail map for Park City Mountain Resort.

Map courtesy of Park City Mountain Resort

"PC"

  • Location: Utah (45 minutes from Salt Lake City)
  • Green Runs: 17% of the resort
  • Ski School: Half-day Lessons for 3-4-year-olds, full-day lessons for 5-14, private lessons

Park City is a picturesque ski town that is sure to cater to more than just advanced or expert skiers. Park City Mountain offers plenty of ski school options for adults and children starting at three years old. The largest ski resort in North America has dedicated almost one-fifth of the mountain to green terrain. While the green landscape is spaced out all over the hill, the runs are wide and provide beginner skiers plenty of room.

Thanks to High Meadow Park and Adventure Alley, kids will fall in love with skiing. High Meadow Park helps kids get the whole skiing experience and lets them enjoy being on the mountain with added features like a magic carpet lift for kids. While this is an excellent feature for all children, Happy Meadows caters more to children over 5 years old.

Expert Tip: Don’t leave Park City without attempting the 3.5 mile Home Run trail. It’s a long but fun ski run that will have your confidence soaring when you reach the bottom.

Best for Kids Under Five

Steamboat Springs Resort

Trail map for Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.

Map courtesy of Steamboat Springs Resort

"Ski Town, USA"

  • Location: Colorado (3 hours from Denver)
  • Green Runs: 14% of the resort
  • Ski School: Lessons for ages 12 months-12 years old (time on mountain depends on child willingness and ability), teenage lessons, adult lessons, and private lessons

Steamboat Springs prides itself on a warm, welcoming, and family-friendly ski environment. The resort backs up this belief by allowing all kids 12 and under to ski free. While you still have to pay for lessons, the money saved on lift tickets for your kids is worth booking a trip to Steamboat Springs. You can find a few green runs dotted along the mountainside, but most beginners will spend their days on the lower portion of the mountain.

The Happy Campers program creates a positive and entertaining first mountain experience for children 12 months to 4 years old. Steamboat will even offer a refresher one-hour course to children who have already participated in Happy Campers.

Expert Tip: Get up early. Almost all skiers (beginners to experts) access the mountain in one place, so wake up early and don’t lose part of your morning waiting in line.

Best on the East Coast

Stowe Mountain Resort

Trail map for Stowe Mountain Resort.

Map courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort

"The Ski Capital of the East"

  • Location: Vermont (3 hours from Boston)
  • Green Runs: 16% of the resort
  • Ski School: half-day and full-day lessons for ages 3-14, adult lessons, private lessons

Stowe, Vermont, is the best skiing on the East Coast, regardless of your ability level. This mountain town holds its own against any large resorts out west, and they offer many of the same lesson packages as their western counterparts. Still, Stowe sets itself apart with the impressive Lower Spruce Peak—an entire area dedicated to new skiers and those dedicated to honing their skills. There are plenty of wide-open runs for beginners to increase their comfort level on the mountain. Do not be discouraged by the number of blue runs you see on Lower Spruce Peak; they are wide open and a great place to practice.

Expert Tip: Finish your trip to Stowe by skiing the long and winding Toll Road on the edge of Stowe Mountain territory.

Honorable Mentions

Whistler Blackcomb

  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
  • Green Runs: 35% of the Resort

Keystone Resort

  • Location: Keystone, Colorado
  • Green/Easiest Runs: 12% of the Resort

June Mountain Ski Resort

  • Location: June Lake, California
  • Green/Easiest Runs: 15% of the Resort

Tips for Beginners Regardless of Resort

A skier in a yellow jacket heads down the hill.
  • Take a lesson: Take two lessons if need be. Do not let ego stand in the way of getting some coaching before you venture up the mountain. All of the resorts listed above pride themselves on providing top-tier ski instruction for children and adults.
  • Don’t be afraid to fall: This is not an invitation to speed down the mountain, but skiing does require some momentum. If you spend your entire ski vacation trying not to fall, you’ll never really learn how to ski.
  • Take your time: This isn’t a race; the goal is to enjoy your ski trip so much that you want to return next season. Spend as much time in ski school or on the ‘bunny slopes’ or beginner ski areas as you need.
  • Talk to your gear rental people: Tell them the truth about your ability. This will significantly impact what kind of ski gear you get. The ski’s length, width, and flex of the boot matter, and you want to make sure you get the right gear. It will drastically increase your experience. Side note, this is why you should not borrow your friends' gear.
  • Experience everything the resort and town have to offer: Skiing is the main reason you head to a ski resort, but it is not the only reason. Many ski towns offer so much more than acres of powder. Make sure you get out and experience the many other exciting opportunities that exist on, and off the mountain. Try some snowmobiling or snowshoeing, check out an ice rink, or explore some of the local history. No ski trip is complete without a night or three out on the town. Check out some of the local spots for dinner, drinks, and nightlife. And don’t worry about changing clothes, you’ll see plenty of people still wearing their ski pants!

For more on beginner ski resorts, on- and off-mountain fun, or to find that perfect ski setup — reach out to a Ski Expert on Curated!

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Written By
On my very first skiing adventure I took a major spill (don't lie, we've all been there) and ended up with a severly broken thumb. 6 weeks in a cast and a pin in my thumb didn't diminish a newly discovered passion for the challenge and beauty of shredding powder. My love for skiing and the outdoors...

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